October 23, 2020
Dear Students, Staff and Families,
I’m sure you’ve heard that the number of positive covid-19 cases is increasing in Rhode Island and across the country. The Cumberland School Department has been impacted with three positive cases since we have returned to school with in-person learning. Please know that we are working closely with the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) every step of the way. As you can imagine, with the increase in the number of cases in Rhode Island, they are working extra hard to complete the contract tracing. Contract tracing is critical to identifying and quarantining individuals who may have been in contact with contacts that test positive.
Listed below are a number of items to keep you informed of the work that is happening in the school district.
We have received an updated version of the Outbreak Response Protocols: Pre K-12, also referred to as the Playbook. The Playbook provides guidance on a number of issues related to the pandemic and how we should respond. A number of questions have come up related to out-of-state travel. In Cumberland, we will be following what the Playbook describes as the preferred method. Here is the guidance provided in the Playbook:
*When can a student or staff member return to school after travel?
* The preferred method is to quarantine for 14 days after returning to RI from international travel or travel to a US state where > 5% of COVID tests are positive
*COVID-19 can develop any time between 2-14 days after exposure.
*A single negative test only indicates that you are negative at that point in time, but you could become infectious any time through day 14
*Quarantining for 14 days before returning to school is the best way to reduce the chance of exposing the school community to COVID-19
Given the increase in positive cases, this information is particularly important for students, staff and families. The State of Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) have established a Covid-19 testing program that is only for Pre K -12 students and staff. The RIDOH website states: To schedule a test, call the Pre K-12 COVID-19 test scheduling service at 844-857-1814, seven days a week from 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. This service line is only for Pre K-12 staff and students who have symptoms or who have been identified as a close contact of a positive case. Services are available in multiple languages. Here is the link for more information: COVID-19 Testing for Pre K-12 Students and Staff
As you know, the school department has done a lot of work on the ventilation system. We are meeting with the state today to review the work that has been done. As a school department, we want to know from the state how many students can be brought to school based on the work that has been done on the ventilation units in all of our schools. We will share this information as soon as possible.
The Mayor and his staff have been very helpful and supportive during this process. The Mayor has allocated resources to assist us during this challenging time. We are grateful for his support.
The School Committee approved a Protective Face Coverings Policy at their meeting last night. By all accounts, everyone including students, staff, and visitors are very conscientious about wearing masks. We know that wearing a mask is one of the most beneficial things we can do to prevent the spread of the virus. We want to thank everyone for their support on this important issue. F-1 Protective Face Coverings Policy
Just a reminder to complete the daily attestation form. This is extremely important given the increase in positive cases in the state.
As always, we appreciate your patience and understanding during this challenging time. Have a great weekend.
Robert A. Mitchell
Superintendent of Schools